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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beer Pick of the Week: Rewjewvenator 2009

click to enlarge Doppelbock, shmoppelbock: Shmaltz Rejewvenator 2009
  • Doppelbock, shmoppelbock: Shmaltz Rejewvenator 2009

Shmaltz Brewing Company

Saratoga Springs, NY

7.8% ABV

Rejewvenator is Shmaltz' spring and summer seasonal, celebrating the barley harvest. This year's incarnation is fermented with fresh-pressed date juice, honoring the fruit of the ancient date palm, a symbol of the Kingdom of Judea that was stamped on the ancient sheckel coin. According to Psalm 92:12, "The righteous shall flourish like the Date palm." This is a righteous beer if I do say so. Two different Belgian ale yeasts were used, along with a lager yeast, imparting the the fruity esters of a Belgian dubbel as well as the clean, crisp fermentation of a German doppelbock.

Rejewvenator '09 pours a lovely cedar red with an inviting, slightly boozy aroma full of drunken plums, apricots, overripe bananas, and dates, natch. Generous hopping contributes some citrus rind and spruce as well. The taste is smooth and sweet up fron,t with brandied fruit flavors of candied dates, raisins, and figs, yielding to toffee and an ever-rising herbal hop and alcohol bite. Piney hops and anise settle on the palate with other tingly, almost prickly, spices. Hot alcohol lingers on the breath, which is a bit surprising for an under-8% beer. Banana and clove hang in the background, but this seems less like a doppelbock or a Belgian dubbel than an American-style barleywine or strong ale. It exhibits clean, crisp flavors throughout, with little residual graininess or earthiness in the malt profile.

Although the alcohol is a bit overbearing, Rejewvenator drinks like the celebratory ale that it is. The medium-full body and spot-on carbonation give it a festive character. I'm definitely going to save some for Christmas. Er, make that Hanukkah. L'Chaim!

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